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As parents count down the hours before school begins, there is a flurry of errands, shopping and shots. There are last-minute scheduling changes for lessons, activities and after-school care. All require some sort of transportation. Whether on foot or on wheels, our need for getting from one place to another is a constant.
The new school term means that it is time to return to the issue of traffic and safety. There are a few twists to the usual means of getting students to school this year. Both Metro and regular yellow school bus routes are in flex. The construction already underway at schools has brought more traffic, as workers and heavy equipment are on the streets around the schools.
It is important to remember that it is not just parents or adults on the roads around our schools. There are teens, older drivers, nannies, drivers-ed students, FedEX and UPS drivers. There are landscapers and baristas. There are bikes and boards. There are big trucks pulling 53-foot long semi-trailers to Island grocery stores and businesses.
Drivers, walkers and cyclists need to be aware and act accordingly. As the new term begins, let’s slow down and take that extra look before we make our move.
And speaking of safety — vaccinations are absolutely critical in preventing deadly disease.
In Washington state, parents or legal guardians have the right to choose not to immunize their children, based on medical, religious or philosophical reasons. There are risks, however, when choosing against vaccination. Unvaccinated or partially immunized individuals are at increased risk of becoming infected with a vaccine-preventable disease if exposed to the illness and — spreading the disease to others.
We encourage all who are considering opting out of these important safeguards to weigh the risks. They are extremely serious. Vaccinations not only protect children, but all of those who are vulnerable.